Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal

Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal are originally from the Ozark region of the Midwest. They are collaborators on Devil’s Promenade, which uses Ozark folklore as a basis for a project that combines photographs with fictional stories, oral histories, found artifacts and video. Spook Light Chronicles is an accompanying three volume book series being released in 2014. Devil’s Promenade has been featured on National Public Radio, Oxford American, VICE and Mosselss Magazine and the books and prints from this series are held in various collections including the British Library (London) and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago). Devil’s Promenade is scheduled for an exhibition opening October 11th at 555 Gallery in Boston, MA. Lara Shipley received an MFA in photography from Arizona State University. She currently teaches photography at the University of Kansas. Antone Dolezal has a BFA from the College of Santa Fe and is currently a freelance photographer and writer residing in Santa Fe, NM. Today we share their collaborative project, Devil’s Promenade.

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Devil’s Promenade
A collaborative project by Lara Shipley & Antone Dolezal

The Ozarks are a place you feel. The dark nooks to hide, made in encroaching woods and the banks of rivers, the smell of wet life and decay, a steady insect hum, all create a backdrop for a people with a particular fascination for the mysteries of darkness and light. Here some of the oldest stories of humanity are told—wanderer’s lost souls and paths taken towards good or evil—but with a local twist in the tale of a strange orb of light. Folkloric stories can provide insight on very real issues in a community. This region is marked by isolated poverty, a wariness for outsiders, and a struggle between heaven and hell that factors into everyday conversation. Spook Light is known as a floating orb found on a wooded road in a region where the Devil is said to reside. In lieu of a scientific explanation the appearance of Spook Light has come to represent for the people we meet a desire for redemption and the fear of slipping into darkness. It is the sublime experience whose defiance of explanation provides a reprieve from ordinary life while the stories told to explain its origin are firmly rooted in the nuts and bolts of human existence. Devil’s Promenade is a project about our home region that blends folklore and local history with our present day photographs of Ozark people, the land, and interpretive images based on the living mythology of the Light. These photographs are combined with oral accounts, short fiction, and found photographs from the region’s past in the three part book series Spook Light Chronicles. Our aim is not to provide documentation or an explanation of the phenomenon, but to suggest a narrative that, in the spirit of the light, is part fixed in this unique region and part afloat in a mysterious, otherworldly realm.

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To view more of Antone’s work, please his website.

To view more of Lara’s work, please her website.

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